WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has become the latest government official to receive a lawsuit from Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.
Swanson joined 17 states and Washington D.C. in the lawsuit filed in the District of Columbia Federal Court on Thursday.
The New York Times reports that the 18 attorneys general, who are all Democrats, filed the suit in response to new rules that rid students of their loans if they were swindled by colleges that act dishonestly.
The lawsuit stems from a decision by DeVos’ office to delay and evaluate the Borrower Defense rule.
“This lawsuit challenges the Department’s summary and unlawful recession of a final agency regulation known as the ‘Borrowers Defense Rule’ (the ‘Rule’) that was designed to hold abusive postsecondary institutions accountable for their misconduct and to relieve their students from federal loan indebtedness incurred as a result of that misconduct,” the lawsuit states. “The Rule was designed to ensure ‘that students who are lied to and mistreated by their school get the relief they are owed, and that schools that harm students are held responsible for their behavior.’”
On June 14, the Department of Education announced the development of rule making committees that would seek to improve current rules under the Borrowers Defense to Repayment and Gainful Employment regulations.
DeVos, who said the current law “puts taxpayers on the hook for significant costs,” wants to step back and evaluate, but promises those who have claims under the current regulations will be processed.
“Nearly 16,000 borrower defense claims are currently being processed by the Department, and, as I have said all along, promises made to students under the current rule will be promises kept,” DeVos said in a press release.
Swanson tells the Star Tribune that rules put in place by the Obama-era plan would shield taxpayers and students.
The Department of Education does not agree.
“With this ideologically driven suit, the state attorneys general are saying to regulate first, and ask the legal questions later-which also seems to be the approach of the prior administration that adopted borrower-defense regulations through a heavily politicized process,” Department of Education Press Secretary Liz Hill said in a statement. “The borrower-defense regulations suffer from substantive and procedural flaws that need to be considered before imposing new burdens on regulated parties that will come at a cost to taxpayers of $14.9 billion in the next ten years.”
“While Lori Swanson stood by, other state attorneys general led the fight against the blizzard of costly and overreaching regulations issued by the Obama administration,” Harry Niska, a candidate for attorney general told Alpha News. “Now she’s going to court to impose costly and legally questionable federal regulations on Minnesota colleges and students.”